Green Olive Tapenade: A salty, garlicky snack or appetizer. Like my mixed Olive Tapenade, this Green Olive Tapenade Recipe takes ten minutes to whip up and is make ahead easy! It’s delicious on its own as an appetizer or with other recipes. Enjoy it as a condiment, dip, or spread! This recipe is vegetarian, vegan + gluten-free. [ see VIDEO on recipe card below ]
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Versatile and Easy Green Olive Tapenade
A no fuss, simple recipe you’ll make over and over again! It’s always the first to go on cheese boards, party platters, and snack tables. It’s also perfectly suitable on its own with crackers or crusty baguette and a glass of wine. Green olive recipes make the tastiest appetizers!
This Recipe Is:
- easy to make
- make ahead ready
- garlicky, lemony, and buttery
- can be enjoyed as a condiment or appetizer
What is an Olive Tapenade?
Olive tapenade’s base is made up of olives and capers with olive oil added until the desired consistency is reached. Herbs, lemon juice, and seasonings are added and nuts if desired. It can be used as a spread, relish, condiment, or appetizer.
There are a variety of olive tapenades sold commercially, but making your own means you control flavor and salt. Also, using quality olives and olive oil makes a big difference in flavor.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Green Olives: Use two varieties for this green tapenade; ripe green olives and castelvetrano olives. Ripe green olives will be in cans, pitted. They’re buttery and mild. Castelvetrano olives are usually in glass jars, pitted, and unpitted. I find pitted castelvetrano to be convenient, but they are spendy and can be hard to find. They have a buttery, mild, sweetish flavor and are delicious!
- Capers: Traditionally, tapenade includes anchovies. However, to keep this recipe vegetarian and vegan, I make green olive tapenade recipe without anchovy fillets opting for capers instead. They’re a perfect stand-in for that briny/salty flavor anchovies are known for.
- Lemon: Use fresh lemon zest and juice. It adds a bit of freshness and balances the salty.
- Fresh Garlic: This earthy, umami-building, pungent ingredient shines in tapenade. I use 2-3 plump cloves, which create a garlic-forward flavor, but this can be adjusted to taste.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Adds a peppery, slightly fruity, and creamy finish. Use high-quality olive oil for the best flavor.
- Fresh or Dried Herbs: Fresh basil or parsley adds so much to this recipe, but dried herbs may be used instead.
- Red Pepper Flakes: A hint of spice adds interest!
Quick Guide: How to Make Green Olive Tapenade Recipe
Tapenade can be made with a mortar and pestle, however, I prefer to use a food processor. It chops the ingredients evenly and makes quick work. In summary, here’s how to make it (see recipe card for details):
- First: add pitted green and castelvetrano olives, capers, fresh garlic cloves, herbs, fresh lemon zest and lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, red pepper flakes, and black pepper to a food processor.
- Next: pulse until you get the desired consistency. Add more olive oil to make it extra creamy if desired.
- Last: garnish with parsley and drizzle with olive oil.
Store in an airtight container (I like Mason jars) in the refrigerator for up two weeks (!!).
This tapenade recipe is salty due to the capers and olives; however, for a lower-salt recipe, rinse the olives and capers before processing, then add salt to taste.
Green Olive Tapenade Recipe Preparation Variations
Depending on how you plan to serve green tapenade, there are varying ways to process the ingredients in a food processor to achieve the desired textural outcome. Also, adding more olive oil while processing will create a creamier tapenade.
- Green Olive Paste – keep the food processor running until the ingredients are broken down enough so that a paste forms. Add additional olive oil if needed.
- Green Olive Spread – this is similar to how you’ll prepare green olive paste. You’ll want the ingredients fine enough to make them spreadable, but not quite as fine as a paste.
- Green Olive Relish – chunkier than the variations mentioned above, relish spends less time in the food processor using the processor pulse function rather than allowing the processor to run.
How Do You Eat Olive Tapenade?
You may be wondering what is green olive tapenade is used for. There are many of ways to enjoy it, so it’s ideal for meal prep. I love having it on hand in the fridge for a quick snack or to use it as part of another recipe. Here are some ideas:
- With Crackers – scoop with your favorite crackers or make homemade Sourdough Discard Crackers!
- On Pizza – green olive tapenade is such a delight on top of pizza. I dollop it on top after I add the last layer of cheese, before baking. Use it on Sourdough Pizza Crust, Gluten Free Pizza Crust or Gluten Free Sourdough Pizza Crust recipes.
- Cheese Board – share with your favorite cheeses on a cheese board with crackers or crostini. Tapenade is tasty with whipped feta, mascarpone, cream cheese and burrata cheese! It’s lovely served with orange marmalade or fig spread.
- On Hummus – share as a relish (chunky) on top of hummus like Easy Artichoke Hummus, Roasted Eggplant Hummus or Roasted Red Pepper Hummus.
- Stuff It into Sourdough Pita Bread with hummus and veggies like cucumbers and tomatoes.
- Green Olive Spread for bread makes a tasty appetizer or slather it on an epic Italian Pressed Sandwich.
- Make Ahead? Yes Please! Make up to three days ahead of when needed.
- Lower Salt: If you prefer lower salt, rinse the olives and capers before processing, then adjust the salt to taste.
- Room Temperature: This tapenade is best shared at room temperature so the fats are soft and creamy. If refrigerated, set at room temperature for about an hour before sharing.
More Appetizers and Snacks to Love
- Sweet and Spicy Maple Roasted Rosemary Cashews
- Olive Artichoke Crostini
- Mushroom Crostini with Goat Cheese
- Spinach and Feta Triangles
- Smoky Roasted Eggplant Hummus
10 – Minute Green Olive Tapenade Recipe
- 1 1/2 cups (155 grams) Pitted Castelvetrano Olives one small jar, drained*
- 1 1/2 cups (170 grams) Pitted Medium Green Ripe Olives one can, drained
- 1/2 teaspoon Lemon Zest
- 2 teaspoons Lemon Juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Non Pareil Capers drained
- 2-3 Plump Cloves of Garlic adjust to taste
- 1-2 pinches Red Pepper Flakes
- 3 tablespoons Fresh Basil or Parsley rough chopped
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) Extra Virgin Olive Oil plus more to taste
- Fresh Ground Black Pepper
- To the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the S blade, add the olives, lemon zest and juice, capers, garlic, red pepper flake, herbs, olive oil and a few twists of fresh ground pepper.
- Pulse the food processor 5-6 times. Scape down the bowl and pulse again a few more times for a relish (chunkier) or longer for a paste or spread (the pictures in the blog post are between a relish and spread, both ideal for topping hummus or scooping up with a cracker). Taste for seasoning adjustment.
- Drizzle in a few more tablespoons of olive oil if desired to adjust consistency.
- Store at room temperature if serving within a few hours. Otherwise store in a lidded container, in the fridge for up to two weeks.